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Claire conveyed some important information to the employee who was helping her with her dress fittings.
“I haven’t been feeling well lately, so I’m sure I lost a lot of weight since I last took my measurements.”
Claire was terribly sorry. She knew they worked hard on the dress.
“Feeling unwell before a big ceremony isn’t as uncommon as you think. Are you nervous?”
Claire shook her head. She wasn’t particularly nervous about the ceremony—she just didn’t like it.
“It’s because the weather suddenly became colder. I should have worn warmer clothing.”
“What about now? Do you feel better?”
“I’m healthy, as you can see. You can make the dress slightly looser.”
“If you feel healthy we can still resize it to fit you as you are now.”
Claire shook her head quickly at the employee’s words. She didn’t want to look gaunt in front of everyone else, and she needed the health and stamina to climb through the mountain of exams, wrong answer reports, graduation, and then learning the ropes of the Müller family business.
“My body shape will go back to the way it was. I just wanted to say that we can let the dress be a little looser today.”
Not to mention that Dean Crisis had said, ‘You’d better be prepared to eat four meals a day from now on.’ His eyes also looked a little sunken as a result of his cold. When she returned, perhaps the two of them could eat the caretaker’s nutritious food. Maybe they would really get fat if they ate four meals a day and would have round faces.
She gave a small giggle as she remembered their childhood. It was unbearably cute.
“You must be thinking of something happy.”
“Shall I guess? Well, there’s only one thing in mind brides have when they wear their wedding dresses.”
The employee gave a small chuckle as she tightened Claire’s corset.
“You were thinking of something nice the groom said, right?”
Claire was troubled for a moment. She wanted to say that was the right answer, but her thoughts were turned far away from the groom.
“Am I wrong?!”
“I don’t know. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.”
The employee laughed again, as if she somehow found Claire’s answer cute.
“It must have been wonderful words.”
Another employee brought in the wedding dress and hung it on the wall. Claire stared at it in silence, and everyone else didn’t say a word either. Perhaps they were allowing her to be impressed by it, but her true feelings were different. She was sad because the marriage was real. That white dress was the concrete proof of it.
Claire finally nodded, and employees busied themselves again.
“You had a very happy face.”
Claire turned to stare at the employee.
“When you smiled a little while ago.”
The employee looked about the same age as the caretaker, with a very gentle smile.
“One looks happy when they think of a joyful moment.”
She knelt down before Claire and spread the hem of the dress wide.
“The moment can be quite small and trivial.”
She now began fixing the decorations on the hem of her dress.
“But you can tell it’s special by the look on someone’s face. Anyone can see it.”
Claire stared at her own face at the large mirror. Contrary to the words that anyone could see it, Claire’s face gave her no answer.
“You must be very fond of him.”
Of course she was fond of him, but she was stubborn enough not to reply in the affirmative.
“Wait and see. Over time, you will realize that I’m right.”
Claire desperately hoped that she wouldn’t realize it. She couldn’t do anything about her situation anymore, and so she simply smiled. Another employee came up to arrange her hair with temporary jewelry made of fake gems.
When they were done, Claire studied herself in the mirror again. The dress was somewhat loose as she requested. It was as if she were wearing clothes that weren’t hers, and so it made her a bit…happy.
“Please let us know in advance if you don’t think you’ll fill out the dress before the ceremony.”
Claire nodded, but she expected to return to normal soon, by Dean’s insistence if not anything else. Then, one day this winter, Claire will be wearing a perfectly fitted dress.
“You look very beautiful. You’ll be even more beautiful on that day.”
Claire didn’t answer for a moment then finally smiled back.
” … Thank you. ”
There wasn’t much else for her to say, and they were oblivious to her internal struggling. Another person came in and whispered something in the employee’s ear.
“Just in time.”
The employee looked back at Claire with a friendly smile.
“The groom has arrived.”
“Yes, there are some people who occasionally come. Especially young people today.”
When Claire asked why, all the staff laughed.
“He comes because he misses the bride, of course.”
“With a look full of expectations.”
They seem very excited between them, but Claire couldn’t understand their reactions.
“I thought he wasn’t supposed to see the dress yet….”
It was one of the country’s sacred traditions for the groom not to see the wedding dress until the ceremony.
“Well, that’s an old relic from the past. These days, the dresses are shown in beforehand and many couples get matching gifts.”
If her friend Louise Sweeney heard this, she would promptly faint to the floor.
In any case, Claire’s potential marriage partner was here. She was sure he didn’t come to buy her a gift though.
“Then can I let the groom in?”
Claire had no choice but to nod. The pathetic man was sure to go on a rampage if things didn’t go his way, and Claire didn’t want the friendly staff to have bad memories dealing with customers.
There was a knock, and Claire had a moment of delusion. Wouldn’t it be nice if the one coming in through that door wasn’t her fiancé?
She briefly covered her lips with a gloved fingertip, as if drawing a kiss. The escape from reality was short-lived, however, and soon an unwelcome face appeared through the open door. Claire gave a small bow, and her fiancé folded his arms as he observed her.
“The clothes don’t fit.”
He immediately pointed out the loose clothing. Claire didn’t expect any praise, however, and she calmly explained that she had been sick and lost weight, and would try to regain it back again.
“You look just fine now. Just in time. Will you reduce the size of your dress then?”
“I was thinking of gaining weight because it wasn’t exactly my type. I want to look healthy.”
“You still look healthy. Reduce it.”
Claire replied with as much civility as she could. There were too many eyes watching them.
“If I stay this figure, I’ll only eat once a day and live with only vegetable snacks.”
“What more are you going to eat?”
“I don’t know if you remember, but the caretaker’s food is excellent.”
Claire was beginning to get impatient.
“Besides, it’s my decision to live with the body I want.”
“But I’m the one that will be holding it, aren’t I?”
She couldn’t think up a reply to that ridiculous answer. Claire realized that she had been taking for granted interacting with rational people lately.
“So reduce it. Unless you’re thinking of making me look like a fool.”
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